Wednesday, October 3, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Global Services Weaken as Europe Slides Into Recession: Economy
Services industries from Asia to Europe cooled last month after the euro-area debt crisis pulled economies including Spain and Italy into recession and damped global growth prospects.
Washington Times | Measure of U.S. home prices rises by most in 6 years
A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 4.6 percent in August compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase in more than six years.
Bloomberg | No Joy on Wall Street as Biggest Banks Earn $63 Billion
Four years ago today, President George W. Bush signed into law the biggest corporate rescue in American history. Even as U.S. unemployment has remained above 8 percent for 43 months, the country’s biggest banks are making almost as much as they ever have.
Market Watch | September ISM services index at 55.1 vs. 53.7
The Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday said its services index rose to 55.1 in September from 53.7 in August. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the index to hold steady at 53.7. Any reading over 50 indicates more companies are expanding instead of contracting.
CNN: Money | Economists: Housing recovery finally here
Of the 14 economists who answered questions about home prices in the survey, nine believe that prices have already turned higher or will make that turn later this year.
Politico | Poll shows new attitude about government Only 40 percent of registered voters believe promoting traditional values is an important role for government, down from 57 percent in 2008, according to a CNN/ORC survey.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | The real dangers of Arctic drilling
Shell Oil has called it quits for this year on its first Arctic drilling rig. First, there was danger of a city-size chunk of floating ice smashing into the rig just hours after exploratory drilling began. Days later, a test of its oil-spill containment dome ended in a tangled mess on the ocean bottom.
Heritage Foundation | Why the Slow Economic Recovery?
The slow economic recovery since 2009 has not hewn closely to the patterns set by previous recoveries. One explanation that matches the key facts of this recovery-less recovery is that the fixed costs of production have risen.
AEI | Social Security "never added a dime to the deficit." Really?
And today, Social Security contributes $165 billion to the overall budget deficit, thanks to the payroll tax cut, a slow economy and Baby Boomer retirements.
WSJ | Money-Fund Reboot
New support for reform should make the industry rethink its opposition.
Washington Times | CREWS AND YOUNG: Regulations and rules equal broken government
Finding the political will shouldn’t be hard. As economic growth resumes, legislators and aspiring presidents who lead the way on reform may find voters well-disposed toward them.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The Economist: Free Echange | The incurable cost disease
The theory means that higher costs are not down to distortions, inefficiencies or market failures, but something fundamental and unavoidable.
Econlog | Freakonomics on Shale Gas
If a $100-200 billion larger economy were deemed unimportant, then policy could drive a wedge between the cost of shale gas production and the price paid by consumers.
AEI | 3 charts that show Biden is right, the middle class ‘has been buried the last 4 years’
Vice President Joe Biden is spot on when he says the middle class “has been buried the last four years.”
Café Hayek | Skidelsky on Money and the Good Life
How Much is Enough. We talk about Keynes’s prediction of a leisurely life and what constitutes the good life.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
USA Today | Aging population a boon for health care workers
As Baby Boomers age into retirement by the millions each year, their growing health care needs require more people to administer that care. That makes fields such as nursing one of the fastest-growing occupations, and hospitals are hiring now to prepare for what's to come.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
RCM | J.D. Kleinke Is Wrong, Obamacare Isn't Conservative
Not a single Republican member of the House or Senate voted for the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama had sponsored and signed into law in March 2010. Yet, a new, revisionist history has just emerged from American Enterprise Institute resident fellow J.D. Kleinke, published in The New York Times on Sunday.
Politico | Red-state counties back off Medicaid expansion talk
Texas counties made waves this summer after reports surfaced that they were interested in moving forward on their own with a Medicaid expansion at the local level — without Gov. Rick Perry’s signoff.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato @ Liberty | ObamaCare’s ‘Essential Health Benefits’: Few States Implement, HHS ‘Is in Clear Violation of the Law’
ObamaCare directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to define the “essential health benefits” that all consumers in the individual and small-group health insurance markets must purchase.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Energy Stokes Inflation in Developed Economies.
"The annual rate of inflation across developed economies rose for the first time in a year in August, driven by a sharp rise in energy prices, a development that may narrow the scope for leading central banks to shore up faltering growth through additional stimulus measures."

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
RCM | A Dollar Deluge Disguises Deceitful Economic Data
Artificially inflated home prices are a welcome gift for incumbent politicians, underwater mortgage holders, and unemployed construction workers in cities that contributed more than their fair share to the housing debacle of 2008.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Investors.com | Why Capital Gains Taxes Are Lower
One of the many false talking points of the Obama administration is that a rich man like Warren Buffett should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But anyone whose earnings come from capital gains usually pays a lower tax rate.
NBER | Do Higher Tobacco Taxes Reduce Adult Smoking? New Evidence of the Effect of Recent Cigarette Tax Increases on Adult Smoking
There is a general consensus among policymakers that raising tobacco taxes reduces cigarette consumption. However, evidence that tobacco taxes reduce adult smoking is relatively sparse.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
NRO: The Corner | How Much Would the Fiscal Cliff Raise Taxes?
Taxes would rise by more than $500 billion in 2013—an average of almost $3,500 per household—as almost every tax cut enacted since 2001 would expire. Middle-income households would see an average increase of almost $2,000.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Private payrolls add 162,000 in September: ADP
The U.S. economy added 162,000 private-sector jobs in September, according to an estimate released Wednesday, a continuation of the middling growth in the labor force since the end of the recession.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Economcis | New Model to Predict Unemployment Sees Rate at 8.1%
The big monthly jobs report doesn’t come out until Friday, but no need to wait until then to know September’s unemployment rate: 8.1%.

Bduget

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | More secret talks? Senators eye grand plan to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’
The New York Times reports a group of senators is working on several proposals to prevent deep spending cuts and sharp tax hikes from taking effect on Jan. 1 as scheduled. Economists say the U.S. could fall back into recession if the fiscal cliff is not averted.
Mercatus Center | Discount rates and pension plans: 98 percent of economists agree….
According to their survey of 39 professional economists, 98 percent agree that public sector plans understate pension liabilities and costs by using high discount rates.
AEI | America and a ring of fire … of debt
President Obama says the ballooning national debt isn’t a short-term problem. I dunno, 2020 doesn’t seem so far away to me. Bond manager Bill Gross contends Washington needs to cut the debt “rather quickly over the next five to 10 years.”